After divorce or a devastating break up, one of the biggest concerns for people is being able to trust again. This is a serious problem creating a deep fear of getting involved and inhibiting people from moving on with the romantic aspect of life.
The trust issue shows up in two distinct ways:
- 1) Trust in the opposite sex
- 2) Trust in yourself, in your judgment and ability to pick the right person
Neither of these issues is a breeze and some people suffer the affects for years following the end of a marriage or relationship.
Thankfully, according to a number of experts, trust can be regained. It requires a shift in behavior, improved self-esteem, and the passage of time. I spoke with a few local therapists who shared their viewpoints for healing the ability to trust others and yourself as well.
All three professionals agreed that the number one factor for rebuilding trust in others is to not give it away blindly. Instead, hold off and let people earn your trust. When you start to get to know someone, observe what your date does. Watch for congruency between what they say and their behavior. Actions are what count because as everyone knows (and some of us have learned the hard way), talk can be cheap. The best solution is to no longer automatically believe what people say.
Test the waters by taking small steps. Start with something that doesn’t matter much so you lower the risk and learn about this new person. Look for patterns. See what develops. Take baby steps and let the trust build when you see proof that each new level is deserved.
One therapist, suggested that people build their “active listening” skills and start paying close attention to how someone else listens and responds to you. Does the person dance around your questions rather than answer them directly, avert their eyes, fidget, or hem and haw? These are all behaviors that might point to a less than honest conversation.
In addition, people are counseled to take time to notice how your body feels. Look for changes in perspiration, breathing, pulse rate and even how your “gut” feels. Your body sends these signals to let you know if you’re hearing the truth or not. Listen to and respect your own instincts to determine if someone is worthy of your trust.
Rebuilding trust in yourself and your own judgment is critical for all future trust. By making this your first priority, you will start to make better choices and take better care of yourself. A second therapist explained that the devastation caused by divorce is proportionally related to how well you maintained your own needs during the marriage. It’s just smart to never forget how to take care of yourself. Preserving your own ability to take care of yourself ensures that you can always count on yourself and keeps your personal power and fate within your own hands.
The third therapist looks at divorce and the ability to trust from a spiritual perspective and she recommends Debbie Ford’s book, Spiritual Divorce. The steps mapped out will help you come through the process without “baggage” which can certainly get in the way of trust in future relationships. Your experience and outcome will be more positive by following these steps and honoring the process, yourself and the relationship.”
All three professionals insist that people can successfully rebuild trust in themselves and others, given a real desire to heal, some time, and the proper support. This willingness to trust again will be the foundation to open your heart to find a healthy, long-lasting, and loving relationship.
As a dating coach, I can tell you that I have seen people heal and move on to trust again. My clients have made tremendous progress to open their hearts to love and the opposite sex. The effort you put into this shift will be well worth your time since the long-term reward is finding the new loving relationship you dream of.